By EMMALEE C. TORISK
Construction of a proposed 17-space parking area that would have eliminated most on-street parking in the city’s downtown has been put on hold, city officials say.
Mayor Terry Stocker said, unfortunately, it’s a delay that is coming “in the 11th hour” of the project.
Work on the parking area — which was to be located on the east side of State Street above the existing Donavito’s Italian Grille parking lot — was supposed to begin this month. The $150,000 project was fully funded through both the Ohio Development Services Agency’s community development block grant program and the city’s revolving loan fund.
The problem, then, involves an approximately 30-by-250-foot piece of property not owned by the city that was to become part of the parking area. Stocker said the city pursued the project — and even spent almost $30,000 on its design and specifications — based on a long-standing verbal agreement with the property owners to use the piece of property.
A few weeks ago, despite the city doing “everything humanly possible to comply with what they felt was important,” the property owners “decided they didn’t want to move forward” any longer, even though there was “very, very little encroachment,” Stocker said. The parking area also would have included handicapped-accessible spots, benches, decorative lighting and a crosswalk, further enhancing the city’s downtown and perhaps attracting new businesses.
Read more about the new plans in Saturday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.